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Consultation begins on special needs education

Posted on Wednesday 9th December 2020
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Parents, carers, schools, early years providers and post-16 colleges are taking part in a countywide consultation over the future of Staffordshire’s special educational needs and disability (SEND) strategy for those aged 25 and under.

Improving education for special needs pupils in Staffordshire is the focus of a new consultation.

Parents, carers, schools, early years providers and post-16 colleges are taking part in a countywide consultation over the future of Staffordshire’s special educational needs and disability (SEND) strategy for those aged 25 and under.

Future proposals include making sure that children and young people get the right support at the right time, a closer working relationship between professionals and parents and a commitment to being educated in their local mainstream school wherever possible.

Jonathan Price, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Education and SEND, said:

The intention is simple, we want all children with special educational needs and disabilities to be able to reach their potential by receiving the right support at the right time in their own communities, at their local school or place of education.

We have faced great demand for services in recent years and we are committed to working openly with everyone involved in this process to do the best we possibly can for the children of Staffordshire.”

Latest figures show that in Staffordshire:

  • 12,758 children and young people – more than 10 per cent of the school population – receive SEND support;
  • there are 6,048 children and young people with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP);
  • approximately 2,500 children attend a special school;
  • proportionately fewer children with EHCPs attend mainstream schools than the national average.

The proposed strategy has been drafted after an initial round of consultation earlier this year with several hundred parents, carers and professionals, which included 22 online sessions after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jonathan Price added:

The feedback is clear, parents want us to work closely with families to allow their children to live as safely and independently as possible and for them to learn and achieve as much as possible in their own communities.”

The good news is that we have strengths to build on. All Staffordshire’s special schools are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, the number of people with SEND in education, employment and training is good, and we have improved the online help and advice available.”

SEND support in the county is commissioned and delivered in partnership between the county council, schools and other education settings together with the Staffordshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

Marcus Warnes, Accountable Officer for the CCGs in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, said:

It’s really important that we get services right and to ensure that children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities get the support they deserve.

Clearly, health services have a role to play in that. However, having listened to the families we have spoken to so far, the support they need is much wider than just health. That is why all partners have come together to develop a draft strategy that will help to shape the future of Staffordshire’s special educational needs and disability (SEND) services for those aged 25 and under.”

The consultation is open to all those interested and runs until 24th January. People can find out more at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/SENDStrategy .

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Contact the newsroom

These contact details are for journalists and members of the media only:

Email: pressoffice@staffordshire.gov.uk
Call: 01785 895050

If you are not a journalist or member of the media and have a general enquiry please:

Email: contactus@staffordshire.gov.uk
Call: 0300 111 8000